Commercial-Multifamily Briefs July 9, 2020

Walker & Dunlop Launches Internship Program for Underserved Youth

Walker & Dunlop launched a paid summer internship program for high school and college students from diverse backgrounds in partnership with Project Destined, REPLI and REIRail.

The six-week program pairs students with commercial real estate firms, where live transactions will help participants gain real-world experience in digital marketing.

The program is administered by Project Destined, which trains underserved youth. Property tech company REPLI and real estate lead generation and business education platform REIRail will also participate.

As part of the program, interns will dedicate eight hours per week to working within the commercial real estate industry. Students will also participate in weekly team-based competitions. The weekly competitions will include presentations on multifamily transactions, allowing students to collaborate with real estate professionals on real-world scenarios. The program will culminate in a Shark Tank-style finale, in which each team of interns will present a digital marketing plan to industry leaders.

JLL Re-Opens Chicago Headquarters

As local governments lift restrictions to allow companies to bring employees back into workplaces, JLL has re-opened more than 75 offices in the United States, more than half its total portfolio, including its flagship headquarters at the Aon Center in Chicago. The company said it is on track to re-open nearly 100 U.S. offices by the end of July. 

Consistent with its advice to clients, JLL is implementing shifts to reduce the number of employees in the office at one time. For example, at Aon Center the firm is bringing back no more than 25 percent of employees during Phase 1.

JLL Chief Human Resources Officer and Head of Corporate Real Estate Mary Bilbrey called returning to the office a personal decision. “We recognize that some employees view re-entry differently depending on their personal circumstances such as their commute, family obligations and personal health situation and JLL will continue to support work-from-home arrangements for employees,” she said. “It’s all about listening to our employees’ feedback and concerns as we navigate the ‘next normal’ together.”

Over the past few years, JLL’s annual Occupancy Benchmarking Report has shown that organizations have allocated less square footage to individual desks. But the current need for social distancing has led to the requirement of greater “de-densification” of office space, the report said.

As of mid-May, the JLL occupancy planning team had developed social distancing plans for nearly 150 million square feet of client space, with nearly half of those clients reporting a loss of 50 percent capacity or more for their floors.

“Ultimately, it could be the need to de-densify space, combined with office worker’s desire for human interaction, that drives the “next normal” of offices around the country in the near-term, as longer term needs are being assessed,” said JLL Markets CEO John Gates.